4 years, 5 months and 3 days ago i started blogging. This is now blog post number 2,000 and it will edge my word count towards 700,000. If i were to print & bind this blog like my dissertation, it would probably consist of about 1500 pages (double sided print) and cost about €400…
That’s a lot of content
When i stop and think about the volume of content i’ve produced, it’s scary. But a blog, by it’s nature, is a day to day thing. It’s all about living in the present. For example i could have refrained from talking about college over the past 4 years and waited until i was finished to give a summary. That carries no emotion though. That’s what writing has to be all about… emotion. Angry. Happy. Sad. A blog should be personal and it can’t be personal if it’s neutral in tone. Nobody is neutral in the real world, so as readers we see through that ‘falseness’.
Then and now
When i started this blog, i’d just finished the leaving cert and was taking a year out to save up a bit and chill out before i went off to college. I also wanted to make sure i was going in to the right area – so i set up several websites, this blog and generally just experimented online. I’ve been experimenting since.
In September 2007 i started college, in June 2010 i got my ordinary degree and in June 2011 (2 months away), i should pick up my honours degree in IT Management. So throughout college i’ve been blogging and sharing my thoughts with you. A lot of what i’ve posted has been educational related but of course that will change now that i finish up in college this summer.
I do have at least two big projects lined up which i’ve never mentioned here. Both have big potential and they’ll more than likely go live over the summer. I find myself becoming more and more fascinated with social media too so i’ll probably experiment much more with that and become more involved in web development work… html5 & css3 excite me and as you may remember i dabbled in iPhone app development back in January, i still intend to build at least one app in 2011.
The goal of any blog should always be to become ‘more personal’, because that’s why people read it. The more personal a blog is, the more interesting it becomes. People like watching and reading about people, that’s just how we’re built.
So that’s the goal for this blog moving forward… over the past couple of months, this blog has been fallen victim to college work but this is now my 3rd consecutive daily blog post, so everything is now ‘back to normal’. The daily blog posts are back.
After a lot of my sites were taken offline in February, i decided to revamp this blog quickly and introduce a new design. It wasn’t finished but i just haven’t had the time to sit down and finish it properly. Over the next few weeks, i’m going to make a big effort to spruce it up a bit more and introduce a lot of html5 and css3. There’ll be more colour too and things will just look prettier. If you don’t like something, i can guarantee you i feel the same way. There are a lot of problems with this blog on the design & usability front.
I don’t feel i have to justify blogging any more but i’ll do it anyway for those of you who think blogging is dead or has been overtaken by Facebook & Twitter. A blog acts as a command center for your social media presence. It can be integrated with Twitter & Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr… you name it. It just glues your social media accounts together and i suppose acts rather like a business card. On a business card you have various contact methods. email, website, phone, maybe skype, facebook… well that’s what a blog does too, only it’s much more interactive.
SEO is also another reason to blog. What’s your name? Can you be found quickly with a google search? No? Then you don’t exist. Sorry about that. A blog isn’t going to magically get you on to the front page of search results overnight, but if it’s done right and if you keep adding quality, personal, unique content, then it’s only a matter of time before you’re rewarded by Google for essentially producing something that is more valuable and interesting than what’s already there.
So if your name is Cristiano Ronaldo, you need to do what he does and do it bigger and better than him. That’s how you dislodge his Wikipedia page from no.1 spot. Chances are you’re not called Cristiano Ronaldo though, so you’re not up against formidable opposition like that in Google. Sometime a domain name is all you need to fend off your competition.
That’s all a bit last decade though, SEO is important but not as important as it once was. Social is where it’s at now and even Google acknowledges that. Rather than writing for robots, we should be writing for people. That’s how social media works. It’s all about people power, not algorithms.
Over the years i’ve met several people through this blog and to this day i’m still getting emails from people who want help, want to meet up or want to help me improve my search engine optimisation for a small fee, results ‘guaranteed’. Yes, that’s one negative thing of blogging… spam. Comment spam and contact form spam. There’s always some that filters through no matter what measures you have in place.
But look at what you’re doing right now… look at what you’re reading, who’s work you’re reading. It’s mine. That’s what blogging does…. it’s a chance for you to get people’s attention, help people, talk to people or connect with them in some way. The reason it’s different from Facebook or Twitter is because you have 100% control over it.